World Water Week provided an opportunity for representatives from AWP and our Partners to meet with global water actors and share knowledge and experience in-person in Stockholm, Sweden, in late August. The event also served to strengthen and renew partnerships with key international partners.
Hosted annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) the week provides a global platform for conversations around water. The theme of the week, ‘Seeing the unseen: The value of water’, emphasised the importance of our hidden water resources – such as in ground water aquifers, soil, and the atmosphere.
AWP, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and several of our Partners, played an active role throughout the week in advancing Australian water expertise and amplifying Asia-Pacific water stories. We convened two in-person sessions at the event, and contributed to some online sessions convened by our sister program, the Water for Women Fund.
Our first session was co-convened with Alluvium Consulting and the University of Canberra, and titled, ‘Thousands of Years of Lessons: Voices of Indigenous People’. Moderated by AWP General Manager Sarah Ransom and Alluvium Consulting’s Senior Aboriginal Consultant, Phil Duncan, speakers from Waikato River Authority, the Indigenous Womens’ Network in Thailand and Oxfam provided key insights on issues around Indigenous water management, Indigenous peoples connections to ground water, the role of Indigenous women in water governance and the need for greater uptake of Indigenous and cultural knowledge in water resource management.
We also co-convened a session led by the Hon Karlene Maywald and Michelle Campbell titled, ‘Community Voices: An Australian Perspective on Community and Stakeholder Engagement’. Reflecting on her experiences from the development process of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, Karlene examined key community engagement principles necessary to create an environment for stakeholders to come together to jointly identify problems and find solutions that meet diverse values and needs–as outlined in the Community Voices Summary. The session also delved into a role-play workshop where participants engaged in a water reform negotiation process as a ‘farmer’ or a ‘policy maker’ while putting some of the principles into practice.
AWP, supported by DFAT, had the opportunity of meeting with some key members of the Indigenous Sámi community of Sweden. Members from the Sámi Parliament, Stockholm Sámi Association, and the Youth Council of National Confederation of Swedish Sámi attended a reception hosted by the Australian Embassy along with the AWP delegation and members of other international organisations. The Embassy also hosted a morning tea reception that convened Indigenous representatives from Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, and the Mekong region sharing histories, ideas, challenges and discussing a way forward through a circle of collaboration.
We had the opportunity to meet with some key international partners at World Water Week including the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and Asia Water Council amongst others, enabling discussion on our shared commitment to development and climate resilient water management.
We also renewed our Memorandum of Understanding with the International Water Management Institute, strengthening our partnership and looking forward with a focus on the management of climate change impacts on water resources and livelihoods, including adaptation, resilience and mitigation measures, and more.
After a three-year hiatus of in-person events, AWP was privileged to attend World Water Week in person. We were able to contribute to discussions on global water issues in the lead-up to COP27 and upcoming 2023 UN Water Conference. Recognising the prospects of growth and change through collaboration and knowledge sharing, AWP is committed to supporting Australian and in-country partners in advancing climate resilient water action. We look forward to another year of fruitful collaboration ahead.